Does that sound right to you? Science, and beauty, in the same sentence? Well, when it comes to diamonds it is true! The birthstone of April is the diamond and I wanted to spend a little time discussing the 4 C’s – starting with Cut. Ever wonder why a diamond can sparkle so brilliantly? It’s a little thing called refection. Ideally, the facets (cuts) to a diamond are proportional and angled just right so as the light enters the stone from the top it bounces back and to the viewer’s eye. The first ‘cutters’ of diamonds would chip, grind or cleave the crystal into a more attractive shape or to remove unsightly inclusions. Around 1300 in Venice the art of diamond polishing began to evolve and, around the year 1400, polishing with a lap, or scaife, was introduced. This involved using a wooden or copper file charged with diamond powder. Nowadays the rotary diamond saw enables a cutter to give the diamond the flat facets of our modern cuts.
As tools modernized, so have the precision of our cuts. The girdle (outside) outlines of the first full cuts weren’t round, but more square with a complete set of facets (Old Mine Cuts). The next step would be a more roundish stone called the old European cut. In 1860, Henry Morse opened the first US diamond cutting factory in Boston and he began a trial and error to produce a proportion in the diamonds facets that would show its ideal brilliance. In 1919 Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed diamond cutting proportions based on modern theories on light behavior. This led him to conclude that certain table sizes and crown/pavilion angles would lead to the optimal balance of brilliance and dispersion in the diamond. His ‘science’ is still used in the art of cutting diamonds today.
So, yes, that diamond is gorgeous and sparkly – but we can appreciate it even more when we see how far diamond cutting has come! Whether your favorite is a round, a princess cut or a heart shape at Schmidt Jewelers we can help you find the perfect diamond for you!